All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) slates arson attack on Business Recorder offices -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) slates arson attack on Business Recorder offices

KARACHI- The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has strongly condemned arson attack on the offices of the daily Business Recorder and called for an inmate probe into the incident. APNS suggested that a senior judge of Sindh High Court be named to head the inquiry panel.

In its emergency meeting APNS also condemned the failure of the administration to provide adequate protection to the lives and property of journalists and newspaper employees who were the victims of the “premeditated and deliberate” mob attack on the newspaper office.

A senior member of the APNS, Hameed Haroon, presided over the meeting in the absence of its president, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, and demanded that the government hold an inquiry and appoint a senior judge for investigation into the incident. Haroon told reporters that APNS members discussed the situation that had arisen from the burning of the offices of the financial daily and expressed its disgust at the renewed violence against the press in Karachi.

The meeting expressed concern at the fact that newspaper reporters and photographers were not allowed to perform their duties and ensure coverage of May 18th sad events. Their cameras were snatched and smashed and they were manhandled by an angry mob in the presence of law enforcement agencies and paramilitary forces, which was termed by APNS as “the most disturbing part of the episode.”

The APNS members condemned the use of violence against institutions and individuals from the fourth estate and reiterated their commitment to ceaselessly campaign against any impediment to the freedom of expression.

The meeting observed that those elements that burnt and ransacked the headquarters of Business Recorder were those who have raised their hand against the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution. It said that those who have failed to protect the freedom of press have demonstrated that they were unfit to act as guardians and custodians of civil liberties and rule of law in Pakistan.

The meeting also noted with concern that the offices of Business Recorder continued burning for four hours before the mob was dispersed. Hameed Haroon said that the APNS was considering plans to observe a black day to protest against the attack and urged all journalists organisations to raise their voice against the incident. He further said that the body would approach international organisations and inform them about the situation.

Arshad Zuberi, the director of Business Recorder, said the attackers entered every floor and every room and their ransacking of the offices was a clear proof that the attack was premeditated. For over an hour, newspaper employees and journalists remained trapped in the building while their private vehicles were set ablaze by the mob. “This is a sad indicator for the future freedom of press of Pakistan an APNS statement said.

The meeting unanimously demanded that the following measures be undertaken without further delay:

“1. All the offices of newspapers and relevant media organisations should be declared as being under threat and the rapid deployment of security forces in event of danger to life or property at such locations be provided.

2. The damages undergone by the Business Recorder are assessed immediately by impartial assessors and adequate compensation is provided not only to newspaper for restitution of its damaged and burnt assets, but also to the journalists whose private vehicles were damaged because of the violence.

3. An urgent inquiry be ordered by the administration to be headed by a senior judge of the Sindh High Court to highlight the failure of the administration in protecting the lives and property of newsmen, newspapers and other affectees in the area.”
Source: The News
Date:5/20/2000